Times change and today, September 21 2020, the final 7.45am news bulletin will be heard on the ABC.

Vintage valve radio

Growing up in rural Tasmania during the 1950s, the 7.45am ABC news bulletin was the signal for me and my siblings to set off down our hill to catch the school bus into Ulverstone. The 15 minute news service was heralded by the familiar strains of an orchestral piece, The Majestic Fanfare.

Our ancient valve wireless was tuned to the ABC all day. Only after school did we briefly swap to Devonport’s 7AD for the Koala Club or Burnie’s 7BU for The Sun Polishers.

While we were home during the holidays our giggling and chattering around the lunch table would cease immediately whenever Dad fixed us with his ‘no nonsense’ glare and said, ‘Shh..listen to the news!’

We quietened down, but of course we didn’t really listen. My sister Robbie and I just tried to make each other laugh and thereby get ourselves into trouble. Often one of us (frequently me) would be sent outside in disgrace. I would sit by the tank stand trying to stop giggling. After what seemed an eternity, but was probably only a few minutes, I would be allowed back inside to finish my pudding.

At the end of the lunchtime bulletin there would be a report on livestock prices from the saleyards near Launceston, which have also recently closed down.

Killafaddy saleyards. The livestock prices would  be broadcast on ABC radio.

As a very young child I thought they were saying ‘Kill a fatty‘, as in fat lambs! Well, we lived on a farm so I guess it was a natural misunderstanding.

The news would be followed at 1.00pm by the long running serial Blue Hills, written by Gwen Meredith. Dad would have gone back out to work by then, but my mother loved the 15 minute programme and my sister and I would follow the exploits of Granny, Rose, Jim and all the other characters during the long summer holidays.

Gwen Meredith, writer of the ABC serial Blue Hills.
GWEN MEREDITH (1907 – 2006)

For a hit of nostalgia, here is the final episode of Blue Hills.

Oh yes, and for a recording of the introduction music to that iconic, ABC news bulletin, CLICK HERE.

I bid the time slot a fond farewell. 7.45am will never be quite the same for me. I have lived in New South Wales for forty years, but that particular news broadcast always took me straight back to the kitchen at Ulverstone and being ushered out the door to school by my darling mother.

  1. And what fabulous memories we have – listening and imagining. (no screen to distract)
    A special memory – waiting for the music indicating Kindergarten of the Air was about to start.

    • Pauline

      Oh yes, Mum and I used to do all the action songs from Kindergarten of the Air before I started school. ‘Boys and Girls Come Out to Play…’

  2. Always sad when things change, especially for something that’s been in our lives seemingly ‘forever’

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